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Improvisation Archives

Licks and Fills from Right Hand Drive
Ask Damian Erskine

Licks and Fills from Right Hand Drive

In this video from the road, I decided to respond to an email requesting some contextual examples of how I might use a few of the “licks and fills” from my book, Right Hand Drive. After a handful of technical difficulties and the majority of my day off spent filming in a hotel room, I present to you… Real world...

Creative Bass Lines: Lydian Triad Pairs
Creative Bass Lines

Creative Bass Lines: Lydian Triad Pairs

Today, we dive into something new – superimposing Major triad pairs derived from Lydian Mode Harmony over a Major 7th chord. The examples on the video are over an F Major 7th chord, and I am using a neat little looper for this. It’s a great practice tool. In the video (and transcription) I take you through the basic major...

Advanced Bass: Giant Steps Plays the Blues
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: Giant Steps Plays the Blues

“Giant Steps” is well known as a challenging workout for all aspiring jazz musicians to learn. In this lesson, we’ll cover how to superimpose “Coltrane Changes” over the first 4-bars of the Blues with a fingerboard friendly symmetrical pattern that will open doors – both harmonically and stylistically into the world of John Coltrane. Download the transcription for this lesson...

Advanced Bass: Displacing Walking Bass Lines
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: Displacing Walking Bass Lines

Rhythmic Displacement is a concept based on being able to hear and perform rhythmic patterns starting on different subdivisions of the beat. The new superimposed rhythm creates an interesting illusion with the lines you are playing, which in turn creates tension. This lesson is aimed at giving you usable ideas for improvising walking bass lines using the concept of Rhythmic...

Advanced Bass: How to Use Melodic Quotes in Your Solos
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: How to Use Melodic Quotes in Your Solos

The use of melodic quotation is prolific within the genre of jazz and its related modern styles. In this lesson, we’ll cover how to use melodic quotes in your solos and breakdown some of the commonalities used by many great jazz masters. Applying this to two choruses of a B? blues progression, we’ll take a step-by-step analysis which includes taking...

Thinking Fast When Improvising
Ask Damian Erskine

Thinking Fast When Improvising

Q: I have been practicing with some jazz musicians who are more experienced than I am. For the most part, everything is fine, but I’m having trouble keeping up with the more up tempo numbers – walking and especially soloing. I just feel like my brain and fingers can’t keep up with the music. How can I think faster in...

Advanced Bass: Groove Follow Ups
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: Groove Follow Ups

This challenging lesson outlines a musical tactic called “follow ups” to add to your groove tool box. We’ll go over some cool ways to create call and response follow up patterns using all of the components of music – helping you to play great lines over chords that will render tasteful musical ideas! Be sure to download the transcription for...

Getting Started: A Beginner’s Guide to Improvising a Bass Line
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Getting Started: A Beginner’s Guide to Improvising a Bass Line

Whether you are a beginning bassist, or an accomplished musician who is simply accustomed to reading written music, it can be daunting when first asked to improvise a bass line. Some people stumble, others freeze. Some think they need to be well versed in college level theory. However, there is no reason to fear even if you know only a...

Advanced Bass: Stitt & Trane Blues
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: Stitt & Trane Blues

The Blues is one of the major building blocks for jazz and improvised music, making it a logical starting point for applying your improvisational concepts. The problem exists when people learn some concepts and then attempt to jam along with no specific goals in mind. This is a big mistake! In this lesson, we’ll cover just one of the stepping...

Advanced Bass: Playing over Minor II V Patterns
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: Playing over Minor II V Patterns

In this Advanced Bass lesson, we’re diving into the realm of playing over minor II V patterns. I’m including a solo etude along with two skill developing drills as we work step by step through a common chord progression. This lesson includes an easy to follow chart (PDF) detailing the specifics of this lesson providing you with a valuable resource...